Trinity's 12th Man

By Randy McIlwain
|  Thursday, Dec 16, 2010  |  Updated 10:45 PM CDT
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The tragic death of an older brother fuels <a title=Euless Trinity's MVP in his push for a second state title." />

Randy McIlwain

The tragic death of an older brother fuels Euless Trinity's MVP in his push for a second state title.

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The Euless Trinity Trojans are set to play for their second consecutive 5A state football championship Saturday in Cowboy’s Stadium.
 
The Trojans are massive up front, boasting linemen the size of college players already.

They’ve won three titles since 2005, but their success in 2009 and 2010 is largely due to one of the smallest guys on the team, tailback, Terrence Tusan,

“I'm just ready, ready to play. It's taking too long to tell you the truth,” said Tusan.

Trinity’s head coach, Steve Lineweaver, calls his running back “Tiny Terrence,” referring to his size.

“Just on looking at him, he probably wouldn't have a chance,” said Lineweaver.
 
Trinity might not have a chance without him. Tusan was last years MVP of the state championship, scoring two touchdowns.

Lineweaver said it’s easy to sum up Tusan’s game, “one word, heart! He plays with a cause,” said Lineweaver.
 
Tusan wears that cause on his back, the No. 2, the number his older brother Joseph used to wear. Seven years Terrence’s senior, Joe was the athlete a young Terrence looked up to and tried to emulate. If Joe was playing, Terrence was close by cheering for big brother and watching his every move.

In 2004, Joe, a college football player in Oklahoma, was killed in a racially motivated crime. Terrence was just 12 years old at the time.

“I'm not going to lie, like, I took it real hard. I didn't really like white people for a second,” said Tusan.

It didn’t matter that the man responsible was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, for a young boy in middle school the manner in which Tusan lost his brother threatened to shape his entire outlook on race and on life.

Then Tusan was enrolled at Trinity.

“I think it was all by design Terrance ended up here at Trinity,” said Lineweaver.
 
Trinity’s football team is perhaps the most racially diverse in the state with a cultural mix of black, white, Hispanic, Polynesian and Asian.

“It's beautiful,” said a smiling Tusan, who’s learned from his parents, team- mates and coaches how to embrace diversity while still grieving his brother.

“It's crazy. It's a crazy world. I'm here with all these people and they're all nice,” said Tusan. “The coaches, everybody. They're all one. We are one. That’s the thing I love about Trinity," said Tusan.
 
It’s also what his teammates love about him; the dogged desire of the smallest member of the team, with maybe the biggest heart.

Tusan said in every game his brother Joe is with him,

“He's always with me. I feel it,” said Tusan.

So when Trinity’s offense takes the field in Saturday’s title game, their opponents are playing against a 12th man on the field. Joe Tusan, running stride for stride with his little brother.

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